Macy's CEO warns that the trade war could force the department store to raise prices

  • Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette said in an earnings call on Wednesday that proposed new tariffs would have a significant impact on the company.
  • "It is hard to do the math to find the path that gets you to a place that doesn't have a customer impact," he said, without commenting on exactly what this would mean in terms of price increases.
  • The US-China trade war reached new levels this week. Retailers are now bracing themselves for the prospect of yet more tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods.
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Macy's is bracing itself for a fresh wave of tariffs. 

In a call with analysts on Wednesday, Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette addressed the ongoing US-China trade war, which reached new levels this week, and whether it would have a meaningful impact on the department store's business. 

Gennette said that tariffs imposed on Chinese imports during 2018 did not have a meaningful impact on the company. However, new tariffs announced this month on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports likely would have an impact, specifically on Macy's furniture business.

Gennette said Macy's is now bracing itself for another wave of proposed tariffs that would impact $300 billion worth of goods imported from China. Should these be put into action, Macy's is unlikely to find a way to absorb costs without raising prices.

"It is hard to do the math to find the path that gets you to a place that doesn't have a customer impact," he said.

Gennette said he is still hopeful that talks between the US and China will be productive. 

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